Search Results : otis

Jan 042018
 

Helloooo there! How’s your first week of 2018 going? Mine is going pretty well, though it’s *SO* cold in D.C. this week. Brr!

Anyway, I’m back today with another recap of my holiday break! After Christmas, Fabio and I both had to work for a couple of days and then after work on December 27th, we drove up to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s mountain house in Otis, Massachusetts. I was able to duck out of work about 15 minutes early and Fabio picked me up right from the office, so we made it up north in record time! We usually don’t arrive until 2 a.m., but this time we arrived around 12:30. Woohoo!

I had to snap this picture as I headed upstairs to put my stuff down – isn’t it just SO cozy?

We had a bunch of friends come up with us for the weekend, including one of my besties from high school (Hana), one of my sorority sisters (Britt), and two of Fabio’s friends (Jason and Bryan). We love spending time at CC and Steve’s place, and we were excited to share it with our friends!

Of course when we arrived, CC spoiled us with a gigantic spread of goodies.

We had some gigantic shrimp (seriously, they were SO big and tasty), chicken sausages, cheese, cookies, caprese skewers, and more.

CC really outdid herself! (Especially since it was the middle of the night…)

Steve, of course, poured us some delicious cocktails upon arrival, and we all settled on the couch to play What Do You Meme. Have you guys played this game? It’s similar to Cards Against Humanity and is really fun! Eventually Hana and I fell asleep on CC and Steve’s huge comfy couch, but the boys stayed up until 6 a.m. playing games. Oof!

Thursday, Dec. 28

We woke up to some brutally cold weather on Thursday, so after a delicious breakfast we all bundled up in tons of layers so we could head out to the slopes.

Also I clearly needed to charge my phone – LOL!

CC and Steve live next to two different mountains – one is kind of small and just five minutes from the house, and the other is a bit bigger but about 30 minutes away. On Thursday we tackled the smaller one, Otis Ridge.

I’m not a very good skier, and I like to go really slowly and stay in control. I did ok with my skiing on Thursday, but I went down the mountain at an embarrassingly slow speed. But, I only fell once, which was a heck of a lot better than last year! My friends were all a lot better at skiing than I was, and they lapped me a few times on the mountain. Oh well, I did my best!

When we ladies were mostly done skiing, we grabbed some soup in the lodge while Fabio and Steve completed a few last runs. Then it was back home to sit by the fire! Ahhh!

We all showered (the hot shower felt *amazing*) and then changed into warm PJs. We spent the next few hours sipping cocktails and eating snacks until it was time for dinner!

We wound up having two kinds of lasagna (veggie and meat) and a delicious salad that Hana brought.

Plus cheesecake, brownies, cookies, and bars for dessert! #allthetreats

Dinner was also a TON of fun – maybe my favorite part of the whole trip – and we went around the table saying what our last meals would be and which celebrities we would invite to a dinner party. Everyone in this group is really outgoing, so the atmosphere was just a lot of fun. The delicious wine didn’t hurt either. 🙂

After dinner, we played Speak Out, another new-to-me game where one person wears a ridiculous mouthpiece and tries to talk, while everyone else guesses what they’re saying. Ha!

It was a lot of fun!

Friday, December 29

The next day was another cold one, though the “feels like” temperature was only -12 this time. Ha! Twice as warm as the day before! 😉

This time we hit up the bigger mountain, Butternut!

Here’s the whole gang!

Britt & me!

And Hana & me 🙂

I liked this mountain a lot better – there was a glorified bunny slope that I went down a ton of times that helped me get more comfortable on my skis and get better at controlling my speed. Luckily, CC skis like I do (nice and slow) so we went down that mountain a lot and only went down a bigger mountain once (I was scared going down that one, and did wind up falling once).

It was so nice having her there with me to go my speed! Our friend Jason wasn’t a fan of the bigger mountain either, so he kept us company on the small mountain when he wasn’t warming up in the lodge (he also has a back injury right now so didn’t want to ski too much).

The rest of the group tackled the tougher runs! Here’s a picture Hana took (she snowboarded) of Fabio and Britt. Aren’t the surrounding mountains pretty?

Fabio even went down a black diamond, which was new for him. Go Fabio!

The mountain closed at 4 p.m., at which point we repeated our cycle of showering and changing into jammies.

So cozy!

That night we ate an assortment of random leftovers for dinner, including some challah French toast that Bryan made, soup, and leftover lasagna. Plus we just about ate our weight in cheese. ‘Tis the season!

Sunday, December 30

On Sunday morning we all had breakfast at the Otis diner (I got an omelet with veggies, cheese, and bacon) and then hit the road. The drive usually takes us about 6.5 hours, but it snowed all through Massachusetts and Connecticut, so we carefully crawled along. We didn’t get home until 7 p.m., at which point we sat on the couch and didn’t move. Ha!

Monday, December 31

Our New Years Eve day was pretty relaxing and included a lot of Netflix and couch time. In the evening, we headed over to our friend Courtney and Kevin’s apartment in Clarendon for a celebration with friends!

She had some delicious snacks set out for us and made a festive champagne cocktail.

We had a dinner reservation across the street at 8:30 at Green Pig Bistro, which was super convenient. At 8:25, we walked right over!

I’d always wanted to try Green Pig Bistro, and I thought the food was really tasty! I especially liked the cinnamon bun bread pudding, which came coated in corn flakes. Yum!

The company wasn’t bad either. 🙂 I had a GREAT time sitting next to two of my besties and catching up on life.

We got back to Courtney’s place just in time to count down and watch the ball drop!

Happy New Year!!

After the ball dropped, we changed into PJs and stayed to chat until 3 a.m. at which point Megan declared it was time to go home. Ha! She was right, as usual.

Overall it was an absolutely perfect holiday season, and I’m once again left feeling so thankful for all the people in my life who made it so fun! <3

Question of the day: Do you like big New Years celebrations or smaller, quiet ones? This one was just perfect!

 Posted by on January 4, 2018
Aug 142017
 

This past weekend, Fabio, Jack, and I drove up to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s house in Otis, Massachusetts (in the Berkshires) for a weekend of fun in the sun! We were joined by my friends Hana and Britt, which made the trip extra amazing.

Here are some scenes from the weekend, with a few notes of commentary here and there. 🙂

We hit the road on Thursday evening after work!

After a long car ride, we arrived in Otis to quite the welcome spread!

We stayed up until around 4 a.m. before throwing in the towel. We were exhausted.

Friday

We slept in a bit on Friday and then had breakfast outside. I made this lemon blueberry “bread” (aka – cake) and it was fantastic!

My plate:

Then it was time for some fun!

Water activities are the best. 🙂

We recently bought this life vest for Jack so we don’t have to worry about him when he jumps off the kayak or paddle board in the middle of the lake. It worked perfectly!

Steve took Jack on his kayak, and the rest of us used the stand-up paddle boards. Poor Fabio had to work on Friday so he stayed at the house, and Britt didn’t arrive until Friday evening. (That pesky day job.)

But the rest of us had fun!

After paddle boarding, we hung out in the back yard enjoying the sunshine and playing lots of lawn games.

Jack wanted to join us in playing bocce. 🙂

Steve was on cocktail duty and made us some amazing concoctions!

Later in the afternoon, the sky began to look a little ominous so we moved our games inside. Steve showed us how to play Gobblet, and we were all instantly addicted.

Once Britt arrived, it was dinner time!

We called it a night around 1 a.m. after playing lots more board games. We were pooped!

Saturday

Saturday morning started off pretty gray and cold, so we huddled inside and went through our wedding pictures together! Then we made a stop at the farmer’s market.

Lunch featured wraps on the deck, and then we headed off for a four-mile hike!

Which of course, meant more swimming for Jack.

The sun was fully out by the time we got back to the house, so we put on our swimsuits and headed over to the lake.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the house playing lots and lots more games.

The games didn’t stop when the sun went down – night time bocce, kan-jam, and badminton for the win!

We finished up the evening sitting around the fire pit and called it a night around 1:45 a.m. (Dinner was also in there somewhere, but I was too busy having fun to take any pics!)

Sunday

We stuck around for breakfast on Sunday before packing up to head home.

It was a long drive, but the fun weekend was worth it!

The end.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite game?

 Posted by on August 14, 2017
Jan 172017
 

Hey there! Happy Tuesday to you. Fabio and I both had off from work yesterday for MLK weekend, so we were lucky enough to have an extra long weekend. Woohoo! We wound up spending a fun couple of days up at my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s house in Otis, Massachusetts, and it was a blast! (Like usual.)

Here’s my recap!

Friday

Fabio and I drove up to CC and Steve’s place on Friday night, and we wound up making really good time. Otis is in the southernmost part of Massachusetts (in the Berkshire mountains), and the drive usually takes us around 6.5 hours. We made a pit stop in NYC to pick up our friend Jason who came with us for the weekend, and then we were on our way!

We arrived in Otis at around 1:40 a.m. and were instantly greeted with a spread of cheese, crackers, and homemade pumpkin hummus, along with a much-needed adult beverage (wine for me, a whiskey drink for Fabio and Jason).

The late-night snack welcome session has become the norm for our visits, and we usually wind up drinking a few cocktails while we catch up. We didn’t go to bed until around 4:30 in the morning! Yikes!

Saturday

After about four hours of sleep (oy) we were up and at ’em and ready to enjoy our first full day in Otis! We started off with breakfast, which was a delicious egg and spinach bake with bacon on the side. Yes!

After breakfast, we suited ourselves up and headed out for a day of skiing!

Uncle Steve is a really great skiier (CC is good too), but Fabio, Jason, and I were all pretty new at the sport. I’ve gone snowboarding a couple of times and skiing one other time, but it was basically like starting from scratch for me since it had been so long. Steve did a great job of teaching us the technique!

Fabio and Jason both got the hang of skiing in no time, but it took me a lot longer to feel comfortable. Poor Steve went down the bunny hill with me a bunch of times before I felt ready to tackle the next level, and I really appreciated his patience. Thanks, Steve!

(Here we are on the bunny hill…poor Steve.)

By the end of the day, I had gone down the green-level hill a few times comfortably (though still with a few falls) and went down the blue-level hill once (though not really on purpose – lol – and with a lot of help from Steve). I decided that when it comes to skiing, I like to go really slow so I can be in control. The really steep areas aren’t fun for me right now, but my hope is that I’ll enjoy those areas more as I get better.

After skiing we popped into the little ski lodge restaurant for some lunch (I had a grilled chicken sandwich) and a much-needed beer. Skiing stressed me out!

After lunch we headed back to the house, showered up, and rested a bit. Ah, so cozy!

Before long it was time for dinner!

CC made use a delicious lasagna, and I put together a side salad with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and blueberries. CC also made us a homemade viniagrette!

Time to eat!

By the way, CC and Steve have these awesome red light bulbs in their house that make everything look extra cozy at night, but they cast a weird color in the photos. Sorry for all the redness!

Over dinner, we had some really fun debates/conversations about politics, the electoral college, and more. It’s always fun sitting down to chat with this group, and I always feel like I come away from the conversations with a new way of looking at things.

After dinner, we all moved to the couch to watch the Patriot’s game since CC is a big Pats fan. We enjoyed slices of her homemade peanut butter pie while we watched! It was SO delicious.

What a cozy way to wind down the night! The boys wound up falling asleep on the couch within minutes – I guess all that skiing really wore them out – and the rest of us wound up heading to bed around 11. Finally, some sleep!

Sunday

Sunday morning began with breakfast again – this time we had egg scrambles with chicken sausage and veggies, plus a couple bites of various delicious muffins – before setting out for a hike!

Can you see Jack off in the distance in the picture above? He had an absolute BLAST on this hike!

Parts of the trail (which starts in CC and Steve’s backyard, BTW, which is so awesome) were pretty icy, but other parts were ok.

We walked about two miles down to Upper Spectacle Pond, which was frozen over!

It looks a little different from last time we visited, right?

Steve and Jack even walked out onto the ice (after testing how frozen it was to be safe) but the rest of us stayed safely on the shore.

Fabio and I even grabbed our furry little buddy for a family picture!

You can barely see him in this picture but his tongue is out! Haha!

I also had to take a picture of Fabio and CC in their respective Yankee/Red Sox hats. See, world peace is possible! 😉

By the time we walked back to the house, we had covered about four miles. Not too shabby!

After our hike, we enjoyed a delicious lunch (grilled chicken, broccolini and roasted sweet potato wedges) before packing everything up to hit the road. Steve, CC, and Jason all had work on Monday and we had such a long ride ahead of us that we didn’t mind leaving a little early. We said our goodbyes to everyone and hit the road at about 4:45, and we finally made it home by 11:45 due to some traffic in DC. Ugh.

Once we got home, it was lights out.

Monday

Fabio and I both slept in nice and late on Monday – we were tired!

The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping and prepping for the week ahead.

We even made some fresh juice, which is something we hadn’t done in ages. Yum!

All in all, I’d say it was a perfect weekend! Thanks so much for having us, CC and Steve!

Question of the day: Do you like skiing? Are you good at it?

 Posted by on January 17, 2017
Nov 232015
 

Hey friends! Did everyone have a good weekend? I spent mine up in Otis – a town in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts – at my aunt CC and uncle Steve’s mountain house. It’s so beautiful there, and we always have so much fun when we go.

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It’s actually Sunday night as I type this up, and after spending most of the day in the car driving home I’m feeling pretty exhausted. I’m going to keep this recap fairly short and let the pictures do most of the talking. Here are some scenes from my weekend!

In the mornings, my mom, stepdad, uncle David, Steve, CC, Fabio, and I would all sit around this table drinking coffee and catching up. CC also made a fantastic pound cake and pumpkin muffins for us to snack on.

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Then my uncle David and stepdad would cook (a second) breakfast for the group. They are some seriously awesome chefs. Look at these perfectly poached eggs!

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On Saturday morning, I headed out for a hike with CC and my mom.

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It was a beautiful day, and we were all happy to get moving.

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Although my mom loves being outside, she’s not exactly what you’d call outdoorsy. She wears dresses and heels every day, and her idea of a hiking outfit included a blazer, dress pants, and open-toe wedges. Plus her fancy red coat with mink trim. Yes, seriously. I can’t even explain to you how ridiculous it was to see her hiking in wedges. She did it though, and didn’t complain a bit! What a trooper.

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Our hike was about three miles and took us up to the beautiful Upper Spectacle pond.

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CC said this area was absolutely gorgeous a few weeks ago when the leaves were changing colors. I can only imagine.

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The best part of our hike was definitely the girl talk. The three of us don’t get to see each other as often as we would like, and I know we all cherished this time together.

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When we got back to the house, we sat around the table for a while chatting, snacking, and just being together as a family.

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CC put up her Christmas decorations early this year so we’d get to enjoy them during our stay. How beautiful is her tree?

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The rest of the house is also super cozy, especially the giant leather couch with the knitted throws. That couch is so dangerous – I can never sit on it or I won’t get back up!

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As for snacks, we had homemade pumpkin hummus, veggies, and CC’s horseradish cranberry sauce, which was absolutely amazing. I definitely ate way too much of this.

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There was also a fizzy cider drink made with ginger beer, which I loved.

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We also played with the cats, Addison and Clarence. Hi, Addy!

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Later in the evening, we all got ready for dinner. CC made butternut squash lasagna with homemade lasagna noodles. It tasted as good as it sounds. Actually, better.

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While she cooked, I munched on plenty of cheese. I <3 cheese.

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Soon enough it was time to eat! Look how beautiful the table was.

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Instead of napkin holders, each of our plates was decorated with a special ornament that CC picked out for us. My ornament was in the shape of a camera (which was perfect since I played around with my camera a bit this weekend) and Fabio got an ornament shaped like golf clubs. Typical. (He and Steve played golf while we were hiking.)

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CC also got us an ornament in the shape of Jack, which was so thoughtful. 🙂

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I was too busy laughing, talking and eating during dinner to take pictures of my food, but I had a perfectly cooked steak, butternut squash lasagna, and a salad. Plus wine. 🙂

After dinner we all sat around drinking and being silly.

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Mom or Ygritte?

Later in the night we pulled out Cards Against Humanity, which caused my mom to blush a lot and made me Google a couple of new-to-me words. There was a LOT of laughing during the game, and it was such a fun night with my family.

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Sadly on Sunday morning we had to head home, but overall it was such a great weekend with my family, and I’m so thankful I got to spend this time with them. Thanks for having us, CC and Steve!

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Question of the day: What does your family do when you get together?

Cards Against Humanity was a first for us, and it was so fun!

Pssst – planning for Thanksgiving later this week? Check out this site for TONS of delicious stuffing recipes, and watch this video showing that using blue plates and displaying food buffet-style can save lots of calories. 

 Posted by on November 23, 2015
Jul 062015
 

Fabio, Jack, and I spent our extended fourth of July weekend at my aunt CC and uncle Steve’s lake house in Otis, Massachusetts!

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Their home is absolutely beautiful, and we all had such an amazing time.

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Here’s my recap! Buckle up…it’s a long one!

Wednesday

Fabio and I decided to make the 6 hour drive to Otis after work on Wednesday since I had both Thursday and Friday off from work. Fabio prefers driving late at night when there’s no traffic, and I was on board with the plan since driving at night meant we’d have a lot more time at the lake house. During the drive we chatted, listened to podcasts, explored some new music, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

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We stopped at a Starbucks in New York around midnight, which was quite weird. Who drinks coffee at midnight?

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We arrived at CC and Steve’s house at around 1:45 am, which honestly wasn’t too bad. After saying a sleepy hello, it was time for bed!

Thursday

Our Otis vacation kicked off with a delicious breakfast on the back deck. CC cooked up a tasty scramble made with eggs, chicken sausage, spinach, onions (I think) and avocado. On the side we had toasted English muffins with farm-fresh jam. Yum! This Thursday morning was already starting off way better than my typical Thursday. 😉

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After breakfast CC and I hit the lake! It was a little cloudy out but still a beautiful day. We had fun catching some rays and chatting for a while, before we eventually headed back to the house.

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After the lake we showered up and ventured out to the grocery store so we could pick up some supplies for dinner. We also added some delicious goat cheese and brie to our shopping cart, because cheese makes everything better.

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While we munched on cheese and sipped wine, the boys played a few games of horseshoes. Fabio and Steve are super competitive, so they had fun playing every game imaginable during our stay (and I believe Steve won them all 😉 haha).

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Meanwhile, I hung out on the deck with CC and helped get dinner ready.

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On the menu: grilled salmon, chicken sausage, broccoli, and corn. Yum!

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Steve’s mom was visiting on Thursday as well, and we had a fun time getting to know her during her stay.

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Dinner was delicious, and I loved that we got to enjoy it out on the back deck. The weather in Otis gets a little chilly at night (it’s in the Berkshire mountains) so I felt incredibly cozy sitting outside in a sweatshirt and shorts with all the tiki lights and candles.

After dinner we set up the fire pit and made s’mores! Nothing says summer like a fire-toasted marshmallow. 🙂

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We all wound up going to bed around 11:00 which was so nice. I was actually really excited to go to sleep!

Friday

On Friday morning, Steve and CC took us into Lenox, Massachusetts for breakfast. Lenox is such a cute town (it was established in 1750) and I’m so glad we were able to see it. We wound up going to Spoon, an adorable cafe right on the main street. We started off sharing one of their fresh blueberry muffins, which they cut in half and toasted for us. From now on I’m going to eat every muffin like this – it was incredible.

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For my entree I got the corned beef hash with poached eggs. It was phenomenal, and I liked that they snuck some carrots into the hash. Hey, every veggie counts!

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We also got an order of pancakes for the table, which were really delicious. All around excellent breakfast!

After we ate, the boys headed off to play golf while CC and I made our way back to the lake.

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It was a perfect lake day with not a cloud in the sky! (Psst – legs or hot dogs?)

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CC and I enjoyed floating around the lake on two awesome lounge-chair floaties she bought recently. It was so relaxing, and we had a great time soaking up the sun!

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Later in the afternoon we headed back to the house, showered up, and played some badminton with the boys. I’m pretty terrible at this game, but it was fun anyway.

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Then it was cocktail time (Steve made us delicious aperol fizzes all weekend) and time to get dinner started.

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On Thursday night we had BBQ chicken, zucchini boats, corn, and side salads. I helped make the the zucchini boats. 😀

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It was another fantastic meal!

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After dinner we all indulged in a few more drinks, and had a fun night dancing around and playing lots of games. I think this picture of the two shot glasses and the empty fireball container explains the evening pretty well. 😉

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Saturday

The 4th of July was actually kind of rainy in Otis, which we didn’t mind too much since it had been so nice the day before. We wound up heading over to Farmington River Diner for breakfast, a cute diner right up the street. We had to wait a few minutes for a table, so we munched on more toasted muffins while we waited (are toasted muffins a thing in Massachusetts?). The muffins were delicious, and I loved that we got to enjoy them on rocking chairs on the porch outside while reading the local Otis newspaper.

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Soon enough we were seated, and I enjoyed an omelet with home fries and toast. It hit the spot!

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Then since it was cloudy out, CC and I hit up the farmer’s market for a bit. CC said it was much more crowded than usual, probably because of all the renters up for the holiday.

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Then after driving around and exploring Otis a bit more, we came back home to relax on the couch (they have the world’s comfiest couch!). It wound up pouring rain for most of the afternoon, so we all cuddled up inside and watched the movie Interstellar. Steve made me a bloody mary to sip on during the movie and I was a happy camper.

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The movie was pretty good, but required so much thinking! I’m actually still a little confused by it. :-/

Luckily it cleared up later in the afternoon so we were able to go on a hike! We took Jack with us, of course.

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We wound up hiking to the Spectacle Pond, which was about 1.6 miles each way.

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It was a beautiful walk, and it felt so good to get moving after being cooped up inside for most of the day.

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I tried to get a picture of us hiking, but CC decided to hide from the camera. Ha!

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Once we arrived at the “pond” (it seems more like a lake to me) I was blown away by how pretty it was. It was even more beautiful than I remembered.

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Jack instantly jumped in the water, and he had a blast playing fetch with a giant stick.

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Now that is one happy pup.

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Later that evening we ordered Italian take out, and relaxed on the couch watching another movie (we watched the Imitation Game). Relaxing evenings like this are pretty rare for us, so this was such a nice treat!

Sunday

Sadly we had to drive home on Sunday and we didn’t get back until 6:00 pm (thank you, July 4 weekend traffic). As soon as we arrived we got a lot done like meal planning, making the grocery list, unpacking, writing this post, etc. while watching the USA women’s soccer game. Yay, USA!

It was such a fun weekend, and I’m already looking forward to our next visit to Otis at the end of the month. Thanks again for having us, Steve and CC!

Question of the day: What is your favorite thing about summer?

 Posted by on July 6, 2015
Jul 022015
 

By the time you read this, Fabio, Jack, and I will be on our way to my Aunt CC’s and Uncle Steve’s lake/mountain house in Otis, Massachusetts.

We will be up there for the long holiday weekend, and you better believe I’m looking forward to the sunshine, lake swims, hikes, BBQ, s’mores,cocktails, games, and family time.

Bring on the fun!

I hope all my USA readers have a wonderful fourth of July weekend, and to all my international friends, well, happy Thursday! 🙂

Question of the day: How will you celebrate July 4?

 Posted by on July 2, 2015
Dec 022014
 

Hi folks! Today I’m back with another recap of my fun Thanksgiving weekend!

After watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person and then enjoying a tasty Thanksgiving meal with Fabio and his dad, Fabio, Jack and I hopped in the car first thing on Friday morning to make the trip up to my aunt CC’s new house in the Otis, Massachusetts, which is located in the Berkshire Mountains.

Remember when we went there over the summer and sat in the sun by the lake? Well, it looked a little different this time around.

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Yep – they got about a foot of snow on Wednesday, which had melted just enough on Friday to make driving up safe (thank goodness) but it still left everything looking like a winter wonderland.

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It took us about 2.5 hours to drive up from Fabio’s dad’s house in Queens, and when we arrived Jack took full advantage of all the snow.

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He immediately found the-biggest-stick-ever and proceeded to hop around in the snow with it in his mouth, looking more like a bunny than a dog.

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He loved that thing.

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After watching Jack play for a while, we headed inside to warm up. My aunt’s house was so picturesque and cozy – I just loved seeing all the snow outside and being nice and warm inside.

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We then spent the afternoon snacking on delicious appetizers, and sipping on warm apple cider spiked with rum. Yummy!!

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These prosciutto-wrapped dates stuffed with cheese were a favorite of mine.

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Then we played a few games, including darts. I would like to point out that I am absolutely horrible at darts, and didn’t score a single point during our game, but I did hit the green part around the bull’s eye on my practice round. At least I know I can do it!

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Meanwhile, my aunt CC was busy preparing our Thanksgiving feast! She and my uncle Steve wound up deep frying the turkey, which came out so delicious!

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So good!

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Then it was time to eat!
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My plate had a little bit of everything: stuffing, creamed kale, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and turkey. Everything tasted great!

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For dessert we had my turkey cupcakes, which looked better than they tasted. I think using a healthier recipe and baking them so many days in advance (I made them last Sunday) probably took a toll on them. Oh well, at least they looked cute.

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We spent the rest of the evening playing Cards Against Humanity and Clue, and once CC and I accidentally fell asleep on the world’s comfiest couch at about midnight, Fabio and Steve continued with games of ping pong and pool. Such a fun day!

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Saturday

Saturday morning was nice and relaxing, and upon waking up, I moved upstairs to the comfy couch where I was greeted with this view.

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Isn’t that just the coziest thing?

Saturday was pretty similar to Friday and involved lots of snow time for Jack…

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more games…

IMG_7874…and lots of yummy food!

CC made homemade butternut squash lasagna with homemade lasagna noodles!

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There definitely was no shortage of good food this weekend, that’s for sure. On Saturday evening CC and Steve had a couple friends over, and it was really nice meeting them!

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For dessert on Saturday we had this salted caramel apple pie, which I had baked in advance (though I decided to forgo the lattice top since that seemed like way too much work).

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The result: it was SOOOO good! I will definitely be making this pie again. That salted caramel sauce is ridiculous! I give this pie two thumbs up!

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We wound up driving home from Massachusetts on Saturday night to avoid the crazy Sunday post-Thanksgiving traffic, and although we didn’t get home until 6:00 am (UGH!!) it was worth it to have a quick trip and a full Sunday at home.

Sunday

Since we got home so late (early?) Fabio and I both slept until almost noon on Sunday. As soon as I finally woke up, I laced up my sneakers and took Jack on a super speedy three mile run. Check out those splits!

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The 7:56 mile was actually on the huge hill that always slows me down, so I was really psyched. I would have gone even faster on the second mile, but we were running through downtown Georgetown which was pretty packed at that time of the day, and it was pretty difficult to navigate with Jack through all the people. Still, I was so happy with my pace!!

The rest of the day was spent unpacking/recovering from the weekend, and getting some Christmas decorations up.

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Of course, I should have been meal planning and doing laundry, but – hey – it’s all about priorities over here.

Question of the day: Have you decorated for Christmas yet? Has it snowed where you are yet?

 Posted by on December 2, 2014
Jul 282014
 

One of the highlights from my weekend in the Berkshires was a hike through the beautiful Otis State Forest.

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On Saturday morning, Fabio, Steve, Jack, and I headed to the trails right behind Steve & CC’s new house for a hike. The park is literally in their back yard, which is so convenient. It’s so nice to be able to walk out the back door, and immediately be in the state park!

We kept Jack off the leash for the majority of the hike since there weren’t too many other people around. What a luxury! I wish we could do this more where we live, but sadly the parks near us are usually pretty crowded and strict on the leash laws. Jack did a great job of staying with us  ahead of us and listening when we told him to come. 😀

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Eventually we got to the reservoir where we were able to take in the beautiful sights while Jack went for a swim 🙂

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Obviously Jack had a blast playing in the water, and he wound up playing with a giant 7-foot stick that weighed about 15 pounds. We tried tossing smaller sticks in the water for him, but he wasn’t having it. Only the biggest sticks will suffice for this dog.

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We let Jack swim around for quite a while before eventually calling him back to shore. He had a blast!

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After that we made our way back up the trail to CC’s house.

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We wound up covering about 3 miles overall, which was just perfect! (I think any longer and the mosquitoes would have eaten us alive, not that they didn’t try.)

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One kind of crappy thing did happen because of this hike though; on Sunday morning we noticed Jack wasn’t being his normal self and his tail was hardly wagging at all. In fact, it was sort of laying limp between his legs which was really weird. There was a thunderstorm going on at the time so I thought maybe he was just scared, but his limp tail persisted throughout the morning.

By early afternoon I was really worried and started looking around online, where I read this article about limber tail syndrome. Basically it’s a tail injury that happens to many dogs – but especially Labradors – after overexertion from activities like “over-long off-leash hikes or a swim in cold water.” Yes, the article literally said that. At least after reading this I knew what was bothering him, but it still made me really sad to see my usually super-happy pup unable to wag his tail. Poor little guy!!

Luckily the injury only lasts a couple of days, and already today he is almost back to normal. I guess in the future when he wants to keep swimming with really heavy sticks we will have to pull him away sooner. Clearly he had a little too much fun!

Question of the day: Has your pet (or child) ever suffered from an injury that had you worried like a crazy person?

I was literally driving Fabio up a wall on our entire 7-hour car ride home while I thought of all the things that could be wrong with him. Thank goodness it was nothing more serious!

 

 Posted by on July 28, 2014
Jan 032018
 

Hey friends! Happy 2018! I hope you all enjoyed a nice break over the holidays – I know I did! Our Christmas and New Year celebrations kept us very busy over the last week or so, and I have a couple of posts coming your way with recaps. First up is our Christmas celebration!

Friday, Dec. 22

I had off from work on Friday and spent the majority of my day in the kitchen! In the morning I baked three kinds of cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction: Classic Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies (from her cookbook, but these are similar).

Since I needed these cookies to last for a few days, I packaged them up and added a piece of bread to each container, which I had heard would keep them soft longer. It wound up working great, and I ate one of the cookies last night and it was STILL soft! I’m definitely going to use this trick again.

I also made this lemon blueberry bread to bring to a Christmas Eve brunch, and it was a huge hit. It was a busy day in the kitchen!

Later in the afternoon, I sat through some brutal traffic before arriving at my mom’s house for some tree-decorating and dinner. It was so fun reminiscing over old ornaments with her, and my stepdad made some delicious potato pancakes for dinner. Yum!

After we ate, I headed over to my friend Hana’s house to decorate gingerbread houses. Hana, Bianca, Sam, and I are all best friends from high school, and every year when everyone’s home for the holidays we gather at Hana’s to decorate gingerbread houses. It’s always so much fun to catch up with the girls!

This year Bianca picked up my house for me, and when she was out shopping, she texted me asking if I wanted to join her in making a “surprise” house. Of course I said yes, and it wound up being a gingerbread castle from Frozen!

It even came with little cut-outs of the characters. So fun!

In the end, the castles came out…ok. Ha! Hana and Sam’s traditional houses came out a bit better, but Bianca and I had fun with the castles. Too bad mine fell apart on the drive home!

The gang!

Saturday, Dec. 23

Fabio and I had plans to spend Saturday with his family outside of Baltimore, and before we hit the road, we stopped for breakfast at my favorite Arlington spot, Northside Social. Their breakfast sandwiches and coffees are just the best!

We had to run a few errands on our way over, including a stop at Home Goods where we saw this awesome black lab nutcracker on skis (his tail was the nutcracker part). We sent a photo to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve saying that if it hadn’t been $300 and so difficult to transport, we would have bought it for their mountain house in the Berkshires. Ha!

They told us to save our money. 😉

After that, we arrived at Fabio’s sister Diane/her husband Alex’s house where we got to visit our favorite Christmas elf!!

Baby Michael was four months old on Christmas, and looked so festive in all his holiday gear! We spent a fun afternoon and evening just hanging out with the fam, which was nice and relaxing. I even got to feed Michael!

Cutie in his Christmas PJs!

Sunday, Dec. 24

The next day, Christmas Eve, was super busy for us! First, Alex’s family came over for a Christmas Eve brunch, and we enjoyed plenty of delicious treats. Everyone loved my lemon blueberry bread! I loved the smoked salmon and everything bagels. 🙂

Then we participated in a fun white elephant gift exchange…

…and gave baby Michael and my neice, Sofia, their gifts (they arrived late the night before).

Fabio got Michael a baseball glove and a tee-ball bat and stand, even though he’s only four months old and won’t be able to use them for a few years. Ha! What can I say, he’s excited!

And we got Sofia a fun sparkly mermaid fin! She totally loved this gift and didn’t take her “fins” off for the whole rest of the day.

In the early afternoon, we said goodbye to Fabio’s family and drove over to my grandparents’ house! This is where I’ve traditionally spent Christmas Eve, so I’m glad we were able to make it over there again this year.

When we arrived, I discovered my sister and I were twinning!

Clearly we are related. 🙂

We then headed to the living room to swap presents with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins.

We all got great gifts, and Fabio and I got money to put toward our upcoming kitchen renovation. 🙂

Then it was time to eat! I got to sit next to my sister (who changed into a new shirt that she got from my grandma…either because she was cold or because she didn’t want to match me anymore. Ha!)

Dinner included some delicious turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls.

Plus TONS of dessert!

At one point my phone got hacked…

And then there was some dancing and family photos after the plates were cleared. I love this one of my sister and grandpa!

And my adorable grandparents!

Here’s my side of the fam!

After that, we headed back to my dad’s house where we watched Elf and fell asleep around midnight.

Monday, Dec. 25

We woke up on Christmas morning to lots of presents!

Even the dogs got some big bones to munch on. 🙂

And we spent the next few hours opening presents, sipping mimosas and coffee, eating breakfast, and playing with our new stuff.

A little later in the day, we watched Home Alone and then got ready to head to my mom’s house.

My mom and stepdad host a big open house on Christmas Day, and this year’s party was really fun! I didn’t manage to snag any pictures because I was busy talking the whole time, but we had a really nice day chatting with my mom and stepdad’s friends.

Eventually it was time to head home (Fabio and I both had to work on the 26th) and we crashed hard when we got back around 8 p.m. Phew! At that point there was nothing I wanted more than to just sit on my own couch and do NOTHING. It was a busy, busy Christmas! However, we left feeling so thankful that we have so many wonderful family members close by to spend time with.

Question of the day: Do you celebrate Christmas in one place or do you travel around to a few different ones?

 Posted by on January 3, 2018
Oct 312017
 

Hi there, and happy Halloween! How was your weekend? Mine had nothing to do with the holiday or costumes, and instead was filled with a quick trip to Philadelphia to spend time with my newly engaged friends, Kristen and Mark!

On Friday afternoon, Fabio and I dropped Jack off at my mom’s house and then made the drive up to Philly. It’s a lot closer than our normal road trips to NYC or Otis, so we arrived pretty quickly! Then again, we didn’t leave home until around 6:15 so it was still pretty late when we got there, so after saying hi to Kristen and Mark (whose house we stayed at) and Megan and JR (who had arrived from Baltimore earlier in the evening) we immediately dug into some pizza and wine. We were starving! We wound up staying up until around 1 a.m. catching up, which was so much fun!

Saturday

We all slept in until 10 on Saturday, which was so, so nice. Once we were all up and moving, we got working on breakfast: Fabio made eggs for everyone, I put some bacon in the oven, and Kristen toasted up some English muffins, so it was a nice group effort!

Saturday was the most beautiful fall day weather-wise, sunny and low 70s, so we made sure to spend a lot of time outside!

Our first stop of the day was Yards Brewing Company, a cute brewery right down the street from Kristen and Mark’s house.

Upon arriving, we each got a beer (I got the IPA) and then took a seat outside in the sunshine. Yay!! My happy place!!

The brewing company offers free tours every half hour – and they give you free beer during the tour – so naturally we signed ourselves up for one! Then at 1:30 p.m., we met up with our tour guide for the day, who acted more like a stand-up comedian than a brewery tour guide. He was cracking jokes every minute, which made our tour so much more fun!


I highly recommend the tour if you’re ever at Yards!

After our tour wrapped up, we grabbed some lunch from a food truck that was parked outside, and then retreated back to our table in sun.

Sitting around drinking beers with some of my favorite girlfriends – and their significant others! – was so, so nice and just felt good for the soul. I <3 them.

A little later in the afternoon, we got a text from some of our college guy friends that they were hanging out at Independence Beer Garden, which was located right across from the Liberty Bell. It was another cool spot and had a really unique layout in that it was just a beer garden that wrapped around an office building.

Seeing our guy friends was nice, but eventually we had to get back to the house to get cleaned up for dinner at Bocconcini!

Kristen had heard about Bocconcini from one of our guy friends, and it turned out to be the cutest Italian place with delicious food. It was also BYO, as many places in Philly are, so we were able to save money by bringing our own wine instead of paying for it there.

Of course one of the first things we did was cheers to Kristen and Mark on their recent engagement! I can’t wait for September 2018 when we’ll get to celebrate!

Love these ladies. 🙂

Then it was time to eat! We all shared some appetizers (meatballs and arancini balls) and then Kristen and I went “halfsies” on our entrees, which were entirely too big for us to finish. Leftovers for the win!

After dinner we went over to meet up with our college guy friends again – it was so nice seeing them! – and then we headed out for a fun night of dancing. (Thank you to Fabio for always taking photos of us. 🙂 Ha!)

Overall it was such a perfect day, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Sunday

Sadly we had to head home on Sunday, and it was pouring rain which meant tough driving conditions for Fabio. We also stopped by my mom’s house on the way to scoop up Jack, and once we finally arrived home we didn’t move much from the couch. 🙂

Jack was pooped from being at my mom’s house too, and he snuggled up with us on the couch all evening. Oh, and there was some Taco Bell action too for dinner – I guess that’s what drinking all day the day before will do to you. 😉

The end.

Question of the day: What’s your go-to hangover food?

 

 Posted by on October 31, 2017